But for longer term travel you really want to start mixing things up which is where the Dry bell travelkettlebell comes in. I have used this kettle bell for a few months now and it has quickly become an essential part of my home workout setup.
While sand bag training has been around for a while, the advances in materials have allowed companies to come out with products that not only rival the tried and tested kettle bells but actually have some key advantages. And best of all sand costs next to nothing so this is one of the most affordable ways of building a home workout circuit.
These are essentially dry bags that have been made with an especially tough outer shell which allows them to be thrown around without worrying about causing any damage to the bag. This lets me easily change the weight by taking out the internal sandbags and I don’t have to worry about sand spilling out onto the floor.
Thankfully the Dry bell has a really strong rip stop canvas type outer shell which is thick and durable. When completely full the Dry bell that I have weighs just over 16kgs and the bag has been able to handle the weight easily.
Likewise, all the stitching around the handles is strong and I have not noticed any loose threads or fraying taking place, the bottle of the bag appears to be securely welded to the sides. They are your typical plastic backpack clips and while I have not had an issue with them they do not feel as sturdy as the rest of the bag.
The rest of the bag is pretty minimalist, the only other thing are a couple of plastic clips on the outside where you can attach the included carrying strap. But it’s very useful if you are going to be using the dry bag to store small items when going out on the water and want an easy way to carry it.
While the dry bell is marketed as being predominantly a weight training piece of equipment, it is also a perfectly good dry bag and keeps water out just as well as it keeps it in. It has a 10l carrying capacity and the included sling allows you to use it as a bag and pack your town and workout gear for when you are headed to the beach.
The clips on the side and top of the bag let you attach a sling and use it as a day pack. With water the maximum total weight that you can reach is just over 10kgs which is decent, and it only takes a few minutes to fill it up under the tap.
I use it as a more long term setup and have created small internal sandbags that let me switch out the weight quickly and easily with no mess. While a 16 kg dumbbell or kettle bell might not seem all that heavy, it is far harder to lift the equivalent weight on with the dry bell.
The flexible handle means that the weight is constantly shifting and requires a much higher degree of stabilization which results in a better workout. An equivalent 16 kg kettle bell is around £38 which is almost 2x as expensive as buying a dry dumbbell, even once the price of sand has been factored in.
I have 2 dry dumbbells and keep one heavy and the other light, which lets me quickly switch between weights mid set. This is not an issue for most exercises but I did find myself wishing that it was shorter was when doing bent over rows or bicep curls.
Even thought one of the main advantages of it is that you can pack it up and take it with you when you travel, I still use it as part of my weight training gear even when I am at home. I use it in conjunction with an interval training app, focussing more on continually working out for a certain time rather than trying to reach a certain number of reps which is extremely challenging.
The cannonball-with-a-handle weight you’ve seen around the gym is a kettle bell — and it’s one of the smartest investments you can make to boost your fitness and your butt. This is one kick-ass fitness tool and “the most underutilized piece of equipment in the gym,” says Lauren Kan ski, a NASM-certified personal trainer.
“Starting weight is relative to the individual and their training history in general, and it also depends on what exercises you’re doing,” says Kan ski. Now, let’s dive into some specific kettle bell brands and models that are highly rated or have unique features and benefits.
” You can swing it, snatch it, press it, pretty much do any type of workout you do with a kettle bell,” writes one 5-star reviewer on Amazon. Similar to the Marcy Hammertoe above, this fully cast-iron Yes4All model delivers everything you need in a classic kettle bell — plus a little extra grip!
Its powder coated finish provides added texture for a secure hold during kettle bell swings. The color-coded bands at the base of the handle correspond to the kettle bell poundage (ranging from 9 to 88 pounds) and help make it easy to identify the proper weight if you choose to buy a few.
This beauty has all the benefits of a solid cast-iron bell plus a vibrantly colored vinyl coating that protects your floors (and your arms and wrists during certain moves). Beware of some other vinyl-coated kettle bells that are actually made of an iron handle fused to a concrete base — those impostors do not hold up well over time.
This model from Bow flex is widely considered the gold standard, easily adjusting to six settings between 8 and 40 pounds. When hitting up a hotel gym, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kettle bell — but dumbbells are in high supply.
Made from durable plastic, this kettle bell can be filled with water to hit your desired weight. Its two-handle design offers easier maneuverability during certain exercises (like the two-hand press), and most users like that the water adds a unique element to workouts.
Plus, you can drain out the water and easily transport this kettle bell in your luggage — it doesn’t collapse, but it’s super lightweight when empty. So, if you’re a bit hesitant to sling around a solid piece of iron (or you want to intro your kiddos to the wondrous world of kettle bells without worrying about them losing a toe or busting your floors), consider this CAP kettle bell made of neoprene fabric and filled with iron sand, available from 5 to 20 pounds.
Until you figure out that you really like kettle bell workouts, you may be hesitant to shell out the big bucks, especially for a full set. Made from durable plastic and filled with cement, these are a bit bigger than your standard iron kettle bells and won’t hold up to heavy use quite as well, but they’ll certainly do the job until you decide to graduate to a higher-quality bell.
This budget-friendly TKO option is made from cement covered in scratch-resistant plastic, so it’s a tad bigger but still works like a charm. Reviewers love the wider, ergonomic handle on this kettle bell, which allows better grip and maneuverability when you switch positions.
“Really nice iron kettle bells will outlive you if you take care of them, so don’t be afraid to invest!” says Kan ski. At first glance, this iron kettle bell looks pretty basic, but some key elements make it a standout pick.
The handle is also designed so that different weights will fall on the same part of your forearm during moves like presses and snatches. The Matrix Elite also has a really nice finish that won’t irritate your hands — not too slippery, not too rough.
It features an e-coating, which is supposedly smoother, more uniform in texture, and less likely to chip than a powder coating, and every single kettle bell is made from its own mold. That’s because competition kettle bells are made of steel (not cast iron) and are always the same exact size (including the handles), regardless of weight.
This allows you to have a consistent training experience no matter what, which can be particularly beneficial if you’re doing a lot of high-rep sets or focused technique work. Like the Matrix Elite, each Kettle bell Kings bell is always made with its own individual mold to ensure the exact correct weight.
And while most strength exercises involving weights don’t get you into an aerobic zone, research shows that Tabata-style kettle bell swing workouts (20 seconds of maximum-intensity swings alternated with 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds) pump you up enough to “elicit a vigorous cardiovascular response” that enhances aerobic capacity. This does wonders to combat the negative effects of sitting for hours on end in an office chair, which often leads to what’s called “anterior dominance,” or shortened, tight muscles on the front side of your body that can prime you for injury.
Due to the shape and positioning of the handle, “the kettle bell mimics things in daily life such as bags, groceries, and other levers we use for carrying, grip, and power movements,” says Kan ski. This means many kettle bell workouts can help you build strength and muscles that are actually useful in real life — not just for show!
In the grand scheme of fitness equipment, kettle bells are pretty affordable for the level of workout they provide — often running from $10 to $200, depending on the weight, quality, and materials. Yes, kettle bells may be a convenient tool to work your whole bod at once, but if you’re on a serious budget right now, know that you don’t NEED one to build strength and muscle.
And remember: For the average person, the lower-priced options on this list provide nearly all the same benefits as pricier picks. So, during this time of serious economic turmoil and widespread unemployment, don’t break the bank in the name of fitness!
Our fitness editor shares four easy-to-adapt kettle bell circuits that kept her sweaty through the holiday weekend. I almost invariably make the trek from my home in Minneapolis to my parents’ in New Jersey for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as the Persian New Year in March.
Holidays are also an opportunity to lose my routine — to stay up late, to sleep in, to drink coffee and devour books and go for long walks at all odd hours. I felt inconvenienced by the freedom afforded by a few days off; lost without the foods I “normally” ate and the workouts I “had to” squeeze in because a training program said so.
Sometime in the last couple of years, I grew tired of worrying about the perceived consequences of not sticking to plan, especially when it came to exercise. I no longer wanted to set an alarm to get up and drive an hour to the gym that most closely resembled the one I had at home.
I keep two KB's, a 12 kg and a 16 kg, at my apartment (or secured in my car for when I’m on the road), and also keep one (a 16 kg) at my parents’ house for visits home. Often I’ll refer to my past programming and the Experience Life archives for workout ideas.
But sometimes I enjoy making up my own circuits based on what feels good and fun and challenging on a given day. As written, these are fairly long workouts (20 rounds apiece) and heavy on reps but not weight (since the KB's I have been on the lighter side for me).
Also go ahead and choose variations of the moves I suggested — single-arm side-to-side swings instead of standard two-handed ones or Russian twists in place of side bends, to name a couple. If you’re hunched over in exhaustion or feel sloppy in the movement, scale back your pace/duration/weight/etc.